Watch Your Mouth

In my post about my 15 Minutes of Fame after I was published by the Nieman Lab I discussed how I wish I had written more eloquently, because I had no idea that my post would end up being seen by such a prestigious news source. I definitely learned my lesson that I need to take the time to edit my posts to make sure that I am putting out quality content that represents me well.

However, yesterday I learned another very valuable lesson that it’s not just how you say something, but what you actually say. Once something goes public, you can’t take something back – so you have to be incredibly careful about what you decide to put your name on in the first place.

When I attended the Andrew Robertson lecture yesterday, who is the President and CEO of BBDO, I was asked by someone from The Daily Tarheel if I would mind answering a question about the lecture on my way out. Normally I wouldn’t do this kind of thing, but I guess I was in a generous mood yesterday because I said why not. However when she asked me why I attended the lecture, I froze. The true answer was because I was required to, but did I want to tell that to a reporter? Probably not. I asked her if she needed my name, and she said she did. After I heard that I knew I couldn’t answer that question. The last thing I want is for people to be reading the paper and see a quote from me saying that I only go to things that are required. Which is true, but only because I don’t normally have class on Monday and I had to work a half day to be able to make the lecture. But I still don’t want that to be on the record, where it not only reflects on me – but all organizations I am associated with.

I’m thankful that I didn’t blurt out my answer before I thought it all the way through. I guess if I’ve learned anything from my journalism classes it’s to be careful about what you say to someone, because you never know how it will be used. I realize that I’m saying it here, but the likelihood of someone seeing it here is a lot slimmer than it would have been in The Daily Tarheel.

Thankfully when I said I didn’t want to answer that one, she said she could ask me another question: Did you find anything surprising about the lecture? I happily answered that one, relieved to have dodged the first-question bullet. I’m glad to have escaped that situation unscathed, but it definitely reminded me to be incredibly careful of what I say ‘on the record.’

Emma vanBree

Social Media Are The New Portfolio

Throughout college, and even in high school, I was given constant reminders to be careful about what I posted on social media. Despite these conversations, what really stuck out to me were the horror stories I heard of people who faced serious consequences for their actions on one of their social media accounts. One particular story that really stuck out to me was a guy from my hometown who got drafted by the MLB, only to be dropped because of his use of the word “n*gga” on Twitter. Although I know this word is a derivative of a very offensive word, I never considered it to be too bad because of how much it is mentioned in music and even some normal conversation. To me it had pretty much turned in to another word for friend, homie, bro, etc. But even still this word cost someone the chance at a career in professional sports, despite his talent.

However, as I’ve been in college, instead of getting even more fearful of my social media use, I’ve actually embraced it even more as a way to set myself a part from the masses. As Brooke mentioned in her post, “1 in 3 employers who search for their candidates on-line have come across content that has strengthened a candidate and made he or she more qualified for the job.”

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My experience as a senior in college pursuing a job in a creative environment, social media is something that should be embraced. I’d even go as far as saying that my Instagram and Pinterest are my creative portfolio, and I’ve encouraged employers to visit my sites in hopes they’d get a deeper sense of my personal style and personality. I believe that being transparent with employers makes a bold statement that I have nothing to hide, and I expect them to thoroughly research me on social media. And from their research I hope that I am able to distinguish myself from other applicants and bring myself to life in a way that my resume cannot.

These sentiments are only confirmed by Undercover Recruiter when they said that they “believe hirers are trying to get a more personal view of a candidate, rather than the resume-like view they will see on LinkedIn.”

If I am looking for a creative job, my style and taste is even more important than my prior experience or GPA. Giving employers access to my ‘portfolio’ helps determine whether or not I would be a good fit for their company, before I even come in to interview.

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So instead of being fearful of how your social media use might affect your job hunt, embrace it. Think of it, instead, as a way to enhance your chances of being hired as you distinguish yourself from other candidates and build a digital presence that is truly representative of who you are and what you are all about.

And for the record, I do have a job lined up for after graduation – and it’s one that I am extremely excited about.

Emma vanBree

Forcing the Issue

Although my room might tell a different story right now, I really hate clutter. It drives me nuts if things don’t have a proper place and I have to leave something sitting out where I have to look at it all the time. I am even less tolerant of clutter on my iPhone, as soon as a little red bubble appears I immediately have to check it so it will go away. When I see other people’s phones and they have thousands of unread emails or a ton of notifications or updates on different apps, it stresses me out for them.

But even more than the red bubbles, I despise having a million apps downloaded on my phone because when I can’t easily see what I have on my phone I forget some exist and I never use them. I refuse to have more than two pages (or screens, if you will) because I know there is no way I need that much stuff. If something is so far back that I need more than two pages, I am hardly ever going to use it and therefore probably don’t need it. I also despise folders and refuse to use them unless its necessary to make more things fit onto my second page, and I never have them on my first, or home, page. And don’t even get me started on multiple page folders. Well, I do admit that I have a multi-page folder – but it’s for all the apps I have that I don’t ever use but cannot delete (Thanks, Apple!). Needless to say, the layout and organization of my phone is extremely important to me, every app I have is one I use regularly.

Which brings me to the real discussion of this blog post: forced app downloading, and my hatred for it.

It started off with Facebook and their switch to the specific Messenger app. In case you aren’t familiar with this case, Facebook prevented access to the messaging feature through the Facebook app for mobile devices, basically forcing users to download their Messenger specific app. I resisted for as long as I could, but eventually caved and downloaded it just because I was finally fed up with not being to get rid of Facebook notifications without use of a computer. Although I did download it, I still don’t really like it because:

  1. Having two apps just for Facebook is absolutely absurd.
  2. The icon looks too much like Group Me so I accidentally click on the wrong app all the time.

Mark Zuckerberg’s explanation for the change was:

“We saw that the top messaging apps people were using were their own app. These apps that are fast and just focused on messaging. You’re probably messaging people 15 times per day. Having to go into an app and take a bunch of steps to get to messaging is a lot of friction.”

And yeah, it may be easier to not have to go through steps to get to the messenger, but if I want to go through all these steps I should be free to. This is America for crying out loud. I do not use Messenger very often, and I still resent that I must have an entire app dedicated to checking the occasional Facebook message. I don’t blame Facebook for making a special app, I blame them for forcing people to download it.

But this was just one case, so I just let it go. At least that’s what I thought until today, which leads me to Google.

I am a college student in a sorority, so I am extremely familiar with GoogleDocs. Although I rarely create them, I access them almost daily in order to sign up for events, work on a group project, or study for an exam. I had noticed lately that I was unable to edit them on my phone, but hadn’t thought much about it and assumed for a while it was just a glitch.

Today, however, I was trying to sign up for an event that was only open for a few more hours and was asking my roommates about it and trying to see if one of them could sign up for me. During this conversation one of them mentioned that you need to download an app to edit them on mobile devices now. I immediately cursed Google.

I begrudgingly downloaded the app to see if it would rectify my situation – but I couldn’t remember my Google log-in information (because I never use Google+) and even when I clicked on the link to the document it didn’t even try to open it in the app for me to edit. And even now that I did get myself logged in – IT. STILL. DOESN’T. WORK. Sure I can start my own document, but there appears to be no way to open  and edit a document that you are just have the link to. And there appears to be no explanation from Google as to why they have made this switch.

And to make it worse, there is a separate app for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides – which I have always lumped into one category. So although I originally downloaded the Docs app when I was trying to open a slideshow, it still didn’t work when I downloaded the correct app.

But I used to be able to open and edit Google Docs/Slides/Sheets – and now Google has robbed me of this. Now I have to have a specific app for a specific type of document and I can only access them if they are shared with me directly. Which is absolutely infuriating.

Both Facebook and Google have lost some of my trust and respect by forcing me to download all of these different apps. If I need to have a special app for every task I have to do – that doesn’t make my life easier at all, it complicates it tremendously. I thought technology was supposed to make life simpler and easier, but this trend of forcing users to download apps has only made mine more complicated, frustrating, and more cluttered.

Emma vanBree

Do your media choices define you?

I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed earlier this week and saw a status that really stuck out to me. Even though I had stopped reading statuses as soon as I saw “Fifty Shades of Grey” mentioned (Thanks Valentine’s weekend.), somehow I decided to keep reading this one. I don’t know if I was more surprised that I had finished reading yet another long status about Fifty Shades of Grey or that I had read an argument on Facebook that I actually agreed with.

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More than Fifty Shades, what truly interested me was her statement that “liking a movie doesn’t label you. Yes, I do think that people shouldn’t be so offended by this movie. Nobody is going to force you to watch anything you don’t want to watch.

She stated that if watching Fifty Shades of Grey means you need to seek professional help, than liking horror movies makes you a murderer. I think if you asked people whether or not they thought watching horror movies made that person a murderer, everyone would likely quickly respond that they do not think that. However if asked the same thing about Fifty Shades of Grey, many people might say that they thought that liking this movie reflected some negative quality about the watcher.

So that begs the question – how much do our preferences in media and entertainment reflect who we really are? Is there some aspect of our media usage that is more telling than others?

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These charts show how teens are communicating, which appears to be primarily with the help of mobile devices, and how social media use has changed over the years in adults. This data would help paint a very specific picture of a person because it reflects things that they actually do every day. So there has to be some media information that is very informative of us.

That led me to think specifically about entertainment, and what media we consume when we want to be entertained in some way. Does watching trashy TV shows mean that we are trashy people, I think most people would say not. Just like people aren’t bad people for watching Fifty Shades of Grey or scary movies. So do the subjects of media we seek out really reflect on us? I’d argue not. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it is probably extremely different than a person’s life. We seek entertainment as a diversion from our own lives, so people seek out experiences that are extremely different from their lives. That means that what type of thing you watch or read is probably opposite of how they are in real life. In this case, data surrounding media entertainment preferences would not be reflective of a person.

So to go back to my original questions, our preferences in media and entertainment do not truly reflect who we really are. If you want to paint a picture of someone, look to how they use media in their everyday – real – life. Our choices in entertainment are not as telling of our true selves than more matter of fact data.

Emma vanBree

LOL, but actually

Making somebody genuinely laugh  can be a lot harder than it l seems. If the timing, tone, or delivery is slightly off, a hysterical moment could be completely lost. Not to mention that there is huge variation as to what people find funny.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think the dirty jokes that are prevalent in today’s media, according to Tala, are really funny. However, I disagree that sexual innuendos and other vulgar jokes are dominating today’s comedy scene. Maybe it’s just because I generally find real-life scenarios funnier than something that is unbelievable or far-out, but I do think there is plenty of pretty wholesome entertainment that is extremely funny and not specific to younger generations.

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I have been watching a lot of Parks & Recreation lately and I don’t think I’ve ever found a television show to be this continuously funny. There are some episodes that are funnier than the next, of course, but even the slower ones make me laugh more than anything else will in a day.

The humor isn’t gross, vulgar, or overtly sexual. The characters are so diverse that I would bet that it is impossible for any person of any age to find at least one of the characters funny.

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Aziz Ansari brings in the current themes and jokes that the younger generations would understand.

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Ron Swanson is the manly-man that appeals to men and women a like across all ages.

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Andy provides the dumb, slap-stick humor.

And this is only a few of the characters. There are also many women on the show who are equally hysterical, I just didn’t include them in my quick humor break-down because they don’t fit one type of humor as closely as some of the men do.

With that said, I think everybody should binge-watch Parks & Recreation on Netflix and rejoice in the fact that our society isn’t as dirty and twisted as we think. And go ahead and tell your parents about the show, too. I’m sure that they’d find it just as funny as you do. Treat yo self.

Emma vanBree

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The Shot Heard Around the World

When I first got an Alert Carolina email Tuesday evening about a shooting in Summerwalk Circle, I gave it as much thought as I have given other similar emails I’ve received throughout my time at Carolina. Which, considering pretty much all of them have been outside of the campus community, is only as much time as it takes to read the email. This evening was slightly different, as I took an extra moment to consider that it was unusual for this kind of thing to happen in a good neighborhood where I know many students live, but after a moment I went about my business.

A little over an hour later I got an email from my sorority just telling us that the University has not said that there is no eminent threat, but that we should still take caution and check in with our friends. This piqued my interest and made me a little nervous even as I got out of my car in my driveway and made my way outside. As I walked in my door I saw all of my roommates and all of my nervousness evaporated as I settled in and prepared for a quiet night at home.

This all changed with a text from my boyfriend, a first-year dental student here at UNC, shortly after I got home. He told me that a second-year dental student, his wife  – who was going to start dental school at UNC in the fall – and a third person had been shot and killed. I immediately went from unconcerned to complete shock and disbelief. Although my boyfriend is only in his first year of school, I have come to know how tight-knit his class has become in just over a semester. My heart broke for the entire dental community.

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Before I went to bed I had learned the name and relation of the victims and heard that it might be a hate-crime. I received the first Alert Carolina email at 7:15, heard from my boyfriend at 8:59 the identity of the victims, and heard more details at the crime before I went to bed around midnight.

Before 10 o’clock, the entire dental school had already planned to wear red in his honor, because he was a huge NC State fan.

I knew all of this, and the names were not even publicly released until early Wednesday morning.

And even more amazing still, that less than 24 hours later – the news has spread worldwide.

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This instance is further proof that news these days moves faster than the speed of traditional media. I knew everything almost 10 hours before even the names were released, and the Internet has allowed it to spread across the world in less than a day. If I were the media I would be terrified.

This is an absolute tragedy, and my heart still breaks for the family, the dental community, and the Muslim community. These were people with such potential, that would have made the world a better place.

Emma vanBree

Why Distrusting The Media Is Actually A Good Thing

In one of my classes today we discussed the fact that trust in the media is declining.

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As shown in this chart, mass media has become significantly less trustworthy over the last few decades. And while we discussed things like bias, reputation and possible solutions that would help media gain trust back – I don’t think that this is something we should be worried about. In fact, I think declining trust is a great sign.

Why? Because if we trust the media less and less, that means we are starting to think for ourselves more and not just blindly believing the first thing we are told. Now, instead of taking on the opinion of  Fox News (gasp!), MSNBC, CNN, The NY Times, or any other big name news source, we read and compare multiple sources and form opinions for ourselves.

I know every time I see breaking news that I want to know more details about, I will look at many stories from various different sources and piece together what seems to have happen from all of the facts I’ve gathered. As someone mentioned in class, if she sees something America has published concerning another country, she’ll check that countries news sources to get their side of the story, too.

So is the media really getting less credible, or are consumers just getting smarter and more savvy? I’d argue the latter any day.

Emma vanBree

Love Your Body

In class this past week we discussed sex and gender in the media, and how women in particular are portrayed.

I definitely believe that women should be respected, treated as equals, and portrayed accurately. However, I do not necessarily agree that we need to stop showing revealing images of the female body.

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I think we need to celebrate the female – and male – body, not hide it. People should feel comfortable in their skin and not feel such taboo towards the human body. We should not be ashamed of our figures because they are beautiful and should be celebrated. A woman should be able to show that to the world and not be thought less of for it or just feel sexualized.

Saying that showing a woman’s body devalues her or turns her into an object blames a woman for being who she is. Marble sculptures are seen as exquisite art, why should a copy be more valuable than an original?

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If I looked like this I would want to walk around half naked all the time, too. Women should be free to embrace their bodies in any way they like. It shouldn’t be about looking a certain way, but for excepting everyone for their flaws and celebrate individualism.

It shouldn’t be about being skinny or being plus-sized. There shouldn’t just be two acceptable ideas of appearance.

Emma vanBree

If You Like It Then You Shoulda Put… Your Name On It

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One of the greatest attributes of the Internet is the ability to be as anonymous as you want to be. You can go to great lengths to hide your identity, such as using the Tor browser to mask your IP address, or you can let everyone know who you are by leaving information everywhere you go. It’s completely up to you.

However, anonymity also has it’s serious drawbacks. When you are anonymous, nobody knows who you are and you cannot be credited with any of the blog posts, articles, or any other content you may produce. While for some people this might be good (for them) because they escape any rightful justice they deserve from their harassment of others online. This, unfortunately, is the case for Amanda Hess and countless other women every day.

The other drawback is that people can’t give you credit for anything you publish online. Meaning if you wrote an amazing blog post that got picked up by journalists, or received a lot of feedback, nobody can give you the credit you deserve.

I almost learned this the hard way with my post on Snapchat Discovery. While it wasn’t the most amazing post in the history of blog posts, it got picked up by the Nieman Lab. While I was ecstatic to be quoted in one of their articles, my professor warned me the next day that my 15 seconds of fame almost hadn’t happened.

Why? Because I didn’t have my full name posted anywhere on this blog. If the author hadn’t been good friends with my professor, he wouldn’t have taken the time to double check my name. This thing I was so excited about could have easily not happened simply because I did not publish my full name.

While it is scary to put yourself out there,the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks. Don’t be afraid to claim your own thoughts and ideas.

xo, Emma vanBree

^Join me in the decision to sign off with your full name, not just your first name!

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Shout-out to Beyonce for inspiring this blog title

Budweiser Bummer

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I resisted the early release of this year’s Budweiser puppy Super-Bowl commercial so I wouldn’t spoil the surprise and I could see it in full glory on Sunday. When the time finally came, I was so excited. From what I had seen people say about it on Facebook I had really high expectations

Thirty seconds later I was left with deep emotions, but unfortunately they were feelings of disappointment. Certainly not the gut-wrenching, sad turned happy tears I had anticipated. I read that it was an emotional roller coaster – but I didn’t even feel like I finished watching the safety video.

What was that? And was it just me?

I am normally a very sentimental and emotional person, and have definitely shed a few tears over a couple of commercials, but this year Budweiser left me dry-eyed. My friends proclaimed that I was “cold-hearted,” however I vehemently disagree.

I do believe that Budweiser, not me, is at fault this year. In my opinion, they completely failed to convey any danger or hardship. A muddy puppy in the rain? That sounds like my dogs every single time it rains.

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And the wolf? They never even showed it in the same frame as the puppy. It’s hard to evoke fear when you don’t see the puppy in the wolf’s grasp.

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Okay, well maybe they did show it in one frame, it was so quickly that it barely counted.

I never once feared for that puppy’s life and I can’t be the only one who felt that way.

xo, Emma